RDN board topples cellphone tower plans for Coombs

Residents had voiced disapproval for proposal

The Regional District of Nanaimo board sent plans to erect a telecommunications tower in Coombs crashing down.

SitePath Consulting Ltd, on behalf of Rogers Communications Inc, had sought the support of the regional district for its application to construct a 61-metre tall self-supported tower on a property in Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers Errington).

On Tuesday night, the board narrowly voted 4-3 against offering that support.

The RDN does not make the final decisions on applications for building of telecommunications facilities or towers. That is the sole jurisdiction of the Minister of Innovation, Science, Economic Development. However, as part of the application process, the applicant is required to gain the support of the regional district before the ministry can approve.

READ MORE: Coombs woman opposed to proposed telecommunications tower starts petition

RDN staff was satisfied the applicant met all the necessary requirements that included public information meetings and is consistent with zoning, would contribute positively to community and economic development, enhance emergency service and public safety initiatives and provide an increasingly expected tourist amenity.

Staff recommended the RDN board provide a notice of concurrence to locate a proposed telecommunications tower on the subject property to the ministry.

The proposed tower, however, has been strongly opposed by residents in the area who expressed concerns the proposed tower would be too close to nearby residential properties potentially causing health and aesthetic impacts and decreased property values.

At the board’s regular meeting on May 28, some residents appeared as a delegation to bring up their concerns and objections, and made one last plea to the RDN board not to endorse the project.

Representatives from Rogers also made a presentation and explained the site selection rationale and also touched on concerns raised by the board and community that included health and safety of wireless installations.

Prior to voting Area F director Leanne Salter urged the RDN board not to support the project and asked them to listen to the concerns raised the residents in her community.

Salter, along with Area A (South Wellington, Cassidy, Cedar) director Keith Wilson, Area C (Extension, East Wellington, Pleasant Valley) director Maureen Young, and Area H (Shaw Hill, Deep Bay, Bowser) director Stuart McLean voted against the proposed tower, and it was defeated.

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